Is Christianity Turning Into a Moral Freak Show?

Is Christianity Turning Into a Moral Freak Show? June 23, 2021

In one of the most candid MSNBC segments discussing the evangelical movement Peter Wehner describes the effect of conspiracy theories as turning Christianity into a “moral freak show.”

Also on the panel was Joe Scarborough, self-proclaimed Southern Baptist, who asked this heartfelt hypothetical to fellow Christians, “If you’ve embraced the greatest story ever told . . . why do you have to follow religiously these conspiracy theories . . .?”

They were also joined by David French, who offered another thoughtful explanation as to why evangelicals have embraced conspiracy theories: prophecy.

“What you are having to realize is that an awful lot of Christians are living in an environment where Donald Trump has been prophesied to be a world historic figure who is going to assist and empower the kingdom of God.” David French

2 freethinking observations . . .

1) Describing Christianity as a “moral freak show” is fairly accurate, but I’d depict it as a cognitive nightmare.  One the one hand, equating the former president as a moral leader and elevating him to the stature of a “historical figure who is going to assist . . . the kingdom of God” does qualify as moral freak show. But it really illustrates how supernatural beliefs coupled with conspiracy theories acts like a cancer on the brain and destroys the ability to think rationally.

This my friends is living in a cognitive nightmare; a state of mind in which one’s thoughts are completely untethered from reality.

2) I have long thought that before Christianity dies as a viable religion it will first become a haven for radicals filled with bizarre ideas and who are prone to antisocial behavior—if not outright violence. What we are witnessing now in Christendom may be the precursor to its downfall. When I think of Christianity and its disciples today, I see a person wearing a MAGA hat, waving a TRUMP flag and violently storming the Capitol.

My impression of modern Christians may be wrong, but the manner in which they have embraced the fundamentalist / evangelical version of Christianity is the most dominate version getting preached. This version of Christianity is also the one being accepted and amplified among the GOP, as well as a sizable number of republican conservatives across America. Which tells me that my impression of what Christianity is and where it is headed is not entirely wrong.

About Scott R. Stahlecker
Scott Stahlecker is a former minister and writes for Thinkadelics about the joys and benefits of living as a freethinker. He is the author of the novel Blind Guides and Picking Wings Off Butterflies. You can read more about the author here.

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8 responses to “Is Christianity Turning Into a Moral Freak Show?”

  1. Something to know about David French–he and his wife Nancy have been deeply embedded in politics for many years. They helped Sarah Palin develop her god-talk–Nancy French ghost-wrote a blog cosplaying the holy single mother for Palin’s constantly-pregnant unmarried daughter.

    And as for *turning* into a moral freak show…it has been, longer than I’ve been alive. Tent revivals going town-to-town “healing” people with lots of drama, churches where people writhe around spouting nonsense syllables, fire-and-brimstone preachers thrilling their audience week after week, Jim and Tammy Faye Baker crying on tv every week as they milked the cash from their followers…

  2. To address what you actually wrote about, I’ve seen the rise of the evangelical megachurch in my area, and I understand it’s a national trend. Little churches tend to be dying, like the one down the road from me that has about 100 people and preaches the “Jesus loves you, try to be a good person” message. What people seem to want is spectacle and drama and coffee bars in their churches.

    Conspiracy theories hook people who want drama and spectacle in their life, too. How thrilling to think that only they have some secret knowledge! Like a basement crime ring hidden in a building…with no basement…

  3. I had to LOL after reading your comment. You are right, of course. Things have been really “freaky” for a while now in fundamentalism. It’s probably more accurate these days to say things have gone from freaky to potentially dangerous among the evangelicals.

    I remember Swaggart, Copeland, Baker and the other TV evangelists way back when I was still in the church back in the early 80’s. Many of them crashed and burned, but a few made a decent living preaching and commute by jet these days.

  4. Yes, there is a lure to having secret knowledge that nobody else possesses. And we can also see why people who are highly susceptible to believing in the supernatural are also easily duped into believing in conspiracy theories.

    If you haven’t noticed already, I’m still finding these kinds of subjects fascinating to write about!

  5. You are absolutely right that the belief that DJ Trump is/was some kind of upright savior for God-fearing Christians (the “Cyrus” theory of 2016 seemed to have morphed into a Messiah theory by 2020) is a freak show. Evangelicals have latched onto him as their William Wallace to win the Culture War once and for all. I think the only way to disabuse them of this notion would be for God to visibly strike him down with lightning. But even then . . .

  6. You are wrong.
    Christianity is steadily turning into an IMMORAL freak show, especially when the numbskulls swallow claims that Trump is some sort of harbinger for the restoration of this vile form of stupid ideology.

  7. “Immoral” is another way of putting it. The way you describe Christianity as turning into a freak show is accurate too. Either way, it’s stunning how principles like honesty and integrity are no longer valued by Christians who view Trump as their moral savior.

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